Lake Region State College (LRSC) today announced a partnership with NESET to create a Wind Technician Academy in Tioga. The first session of the Academy is set to start on Tuesday, May 26th with up to 16 students learning to work on wind turbines.

“We have a unique opportunity to partner with private sector industry and provide additional training for the skilled employees from the energy industry in western North Dakota to work in renewable energy,” said LRSC President Doug Darling.

Work is being finalized this week in the NESET offices in Tioga to install ladders and safety equipment for the class. Neset President Kathleen Neset has donated the use of the company’s facilities for this training.

“We have an area here in Northwestern North Dakota that is rich in schooled labor, but unfortunately many of our fellow oilfield workers have recently lost their jobs due to current events. Our goal with this program is to give these oilfield veterans who are currently unemployed an opportunity for training so that they can stay in the energy sector and stay in North Dakota,” said Neset. “In a situation like we are facing right now, time is of the essence. I am so pleased at the quick work of the team at Lake Region State College to partner with us and bring this from an idea to reality in a matter of weeks.”

The non-credit course will be run through Train ND and mirror the for credit-program at LRSC. Students will receive training in a 14-week accelerated program that will qualify them to work on wind turbines. Outreach efforts have been conducted in the region amongst workers to fill the spots available in the program. Additional sessions may be added based on interest in the area. Individuals or companies interested in this program should contact NESET Operations Manager Joe Griffin at 701-641-0679 or joegriffin@nesetconsulting.com.

“On the job training is more important than ever as there is an increased need in getting North Dakotans back to work. LRSC and NESET were quick to identify an opportunity to collaborate and provide a valuable training program that will help individuals re-enter the workforce with the skills they need to be successful,” said North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Michelle Kommer.

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the U.S. wind industry directly employs 120,00 Americans, spread across all 50 states. With regional projects spearheaded by NextEra Energy Resources and Enel Green Power the demand for these technicians in Northwestern North Dakota will grow.

The Wind Energy Technician program at LRSC was first started in the 2009-2010 academic year and is the only program of its kind in the state. Students have the option of completing a one-year certificate program or continuing to the second year to earn an Associate in Applied Science degree. The campus has its own 1.67 MW turbine that provides service to the LRSC campus.